One million square feet saturated in Star Wars. Six days of events, including a six-movie marathon of the entire Star Wars big-screen saga. Seven live stages. Celebrity guests from the movies, television, and animation. Live Star Wars laser tag featuring Stormtroopers to target. Three hundred members of the media. More than 35,000 individual revelers. If Celebration III was billed as the party of a lifetime, Celebration IV might have been the party to make fans forget all other parties.
We were back in Indianapolis. We were celebrating the release of another Star Wars movie with tens of thousands of fans. We were working with many of the same staff and crew. What could surprise us? What could possibly go wrong?
Heh. Honestly, I’m both an event production person and a naturally suspicious person, so I would never think for a moment that I could not be surprised, nor that nothing could go wrong. If you ever get the pleasure of speaking with Este or Kristen from my events team, they will vouch that I am all about backups and backup plans and Plan B and even Plan C.
Of the many memories and impressions that are dear to my heart from Star Wars Celebration II, these two come to mind immediately: what Star Wars fans contributed to the show, and Yoda.
First, about Yoda… What we at Lucasfilm knew, and what the audience in the Indiana Convention Center had not seen, was that Yoda would have his first real lightsaber fight in the upcoming Attack of the Clones. We’d not released any clips of the Jedi Master in action before the show, having saved the excitement for those seeing it first on the big screen.
I am not a part of the tribe.
I have worked on every Star Wars Celebration since Celebration II, but no matter, I am not a member of the elite echelon of fans who traveled to Star Wars Celebration I in Colorado back in 1999. Not able to claim I had anything to do with the show at all, I do not possess even a nostalgic attendance badge.
“This rancor will need to travel across Florida.”
At each and every Star Wars Celebration I find myself either saying or hearing phrases that sound completely out-of-this-galaxy.
“Can we get this landspeeder in the freight elevator?”
“We are going to build a Death Star and I want you to find out how much.”
Either they sound out-of-this-galaxy, or they sound completely impossible, as in “I just lost an entire marching band.”
Typically the responses sound much more in-galaxy than the original statements:
“We can’t get Darth Vader off the ground.”
“That is because the wind is coming too strongly from a direction that threatens to blow the Darth Vader hot-air balloon right into the ExCeL Convention Center and impale it on the roof.”
For roughly the past month it’s been the same:
- “We can rethink that floorplan after the holidays.”
- “I can have the answers you need after the holidays.”
- “We’ll send those links after the holidays.”
- “After the holidays we’ll be ready to revisit this.”
- “The document will be completed for you after the holidays.”
- Etc. etc. etc. “after the holidays.”
Honestly, it’s a good tradition that people in the world disconnect and focus on something other than work for a few weeks each winter. Family, friends, travel, avoiding cliffs, a few good books and movies — whatever it is that refuels us, it’s probably healthy for humankind.
December 25th – provided that the world has not ended per the Mayan calendar – I’ll be flying to Hoth.
More specifically, I’ll be flying to Cordova, Alaska for the holidays, where I used to live before I came to work at Lucasfilm. It will be dark and cold and icy, and some of my dearest friends will be there. Somehow my Alaska friends carry on at full speed no matter how far the mercury drops down or the snow piles up. I used to be president of ye old Star Wars Online Fan Club when I lived there – a long time ago before StarWars.com was even born yet.
Bantha Tracks, the newsletter that has been “By the Fans; For the Fans” since it was reintroduced 10 years ago in 2002, receives contributions of Star Wars art from fans of all ages. We wanted to share submissions here as well as in Star Wars Insider magazine, where Bantha Tracks is a regular feature. Thus, we’re happy to present Bantha Tracks Art Galaxy, a new series on the Star Wars Blog showcasing even more exclusive fan art.
To submit your art, photographs, and Star Wars fan stories to Bantha Tracks, follow the submission guidelines at the bottom of this post. But first: art!
It’s hard for me to believe that the first Star Wars Celebration Europe was almost six years ago. Maybe that disbelief is simply a product of how long I’ve worked on Celebrations – I sure as Sith won’t admit it’s a product of my age – but it is incredible to think that it’s been so long since we produced the show for the very first time outside of the U.S.
That show was not only the first Celebration outside North America, but also a first for some other notable memories.
Yesterday, for a good part of the day, I took over one of our big conference room tables here at Lucasfilm and started playing a big puzzle game with the floorplan of the Messe Essen in Germany.
My task: To look over all kinds of different ways to pack as much fun and excitement into our space as possible. Star Wars Celebration Europe next summer will be the biggest Star Wars event ever in Germany, and we want to make sure all the very best in Star Wars fits in the best possible way.